If a new laptop upgrade is still a ways off or you have a desktop that could use a wireless connection with the fastest available speed, take a look at the new Linksys MAX-STREAM AC600 Wi-Fi USB Adapter. It simply improves older Wi-Fi technology to the latest AC Wi-Fi standard and when connected to a router capable of Multi-User In/Multi-User Out (MU-MIMO) capacity, this wireless upgrade will provide greater Wi-Fi efficiency so you can enjoy HD streaming, online gaming and surfing simultaneously, without lag or buffering.
There are a couple of scenarios where this Wi-Fi adapter might be useful:
Scenario 1: Connecting a desktop to a Wi-Fi network where no direct ethernet connection is available.
Under this scenario, installing the MaxStream was straight-forward and took about 3 minutes – though not exactly “plug & play”. Before being able to use the MaxStream, we needed to inserted the Linksys Software CD and follow the prompts to install the adapter drivers. Then we plugged in the USB Wi-Fi adapter and tested it against the benchmark of wired ethernet. Peak download speed for this test was 239 Mbps with a direct ethernet connection. After installing the USB Wi-Fi adapter we received a consistent wireless speed of roughly 175 Mbps. About 75% of the potential speed if connected directly via ethernet. A more than acceptable result.
Scenario 2: Upgrading an older laptop from existing Wireless N or G to the new modern standard Wireless 802.11ac for the fastest possible speed.
The MaxStream connected at 150 Mbps – an increase of 200%.
In this test we took an older HP laptop that was connecting via Wireless-N (2.4GHz) to a Linksys Wireless 802.11ac access point. Before the MaxStream, the laptop connected at 49 Mbps. After installing the MaxStream, the laptop connected at 150 Mbps an increase of 200% in download speed. Pretty nice.
It should be noted that all tests were run connected to a Linksys LAPAC2600 access point featuring dual wireless bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and MU-MIMO technology. Those spec certainly allowed the MaxStream to achieve peak speed. In limited testing on the 2.4 GHz band speed was diminished to an average of 79 Mbps.
So keep in mind that wireless is a two-way street. A wireless ac adapter like the Linksys MaxStream AC600 will not provide it’s highest performance if it is not connected to compatible network hardware featuring the 5GHz band and the latest MU-MIMO technology.
All that said, this a a great little device to bring some older technology up to the latest Wi-Fi standards. The MaxStream AC600 Wi-Fi adapter is available at Amazon for less than $50. We rate it an 8.5 which is Very Good.
The Linksys Max-Stream AC600 delivers significantly faster wireless speeds by connecting an older PC or laptop to a modern 802.11ac router. Just don't expect USB Plug & Play installation as a CD is also required.